Castaic district suspends bus transportation for Val Verde

Bus driver Arlene Alcaras arrives at Castaic Middle School to pick up students on Tuesday, 092722. Dan Watson/The Signal

The decision affects general education students, up to three weeks and will be reevaluated on Nov. 7 

Families of Val Verde might be surprised to hear the Castaic Union School District suspended bus transportation for general education students, citing a lack of bus drivers as the reason for this decision.  

District officials sent an email to families on Friday informing them Val Verde route C — to Live Oak Elementary School and Castaic Middle School — would be “postponed for three weeks” starting Monday.  

District staff will reevaluate this decision on Nov. 7 and send out an update to its community, Superintendent Steve Doyle confirmed via email.  

“This issue is due to a lack of drivers,” Doyle wrote in an email. “We have been actively trying to recruit new drivers since last year with no luck.” 

According to Doyle, the district currently has four qualified and certified bus drivers. Three of those drivers transport special education students, which is required by law for students who have it written in their individualized education plan.  

“That only leaves one driver for two general education routes (Val Verde and Templin Highway),” Doyle wrote in an email. “We are currently trying to contract with outside agencies to secure another driver.” 

A parent who reached out to The Signal, who wished to remain unnamed because they were worried their children attending schools in the district would face consequences, said the district should have informed parents much sooner.  

This parent has lived in Val Verde for 10 years. He said — due to his work being out in Ventura County — he wouldn’t be able to drop off his children at school. However, he was able to come to an agreement with a family member to drop off his kids at school on time.  

But he worried for other Val Verde families who are not as fortunate to find help. 

According to Doyle, the decision was motivated due to special education students who were not being transported to school.  

Doyle wrote in an email that if the district is unable to find an agency to contract with to provide a driver for Val Verde general education students, then they would be forced to rotate the two general education routes — Val Verde route C and Templin Highway route B — every three weeks. 

The district currently has calls in to three companies, he added.  

“We understand the inconvenience that this creates for our families as we do realize the importance of transportation for your children,” Doyle wrote in an email to district families. “We are saddened to have to bring this news to you today, and we will continue to make every effort within our power to best accommodate all who are being affected.” 

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